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Finger Lakes Trail
Catskill Forest Preserve
Middle Mountain Wild Forest
This short but rugged 3.1 mile section of the Finger Lakes Trail follows the Mary Smith Hill Trail (red discs) in the Middle Mountain Wild Forest section of the Catskill Forest Preserve. From the parking area on Holiday and Berry Brook Road the trail immediately ascends steeply up Mary Smith Hill. As the trail descends from Mary Smith Hill, there is a view to the southeast. There is a sign at the vista that says "Middle Mountain Overlook". I'm unsure why it's called that since this is Mary Smith Hill and I'm pretty sure that the view does not include Middle Mountain, except for through the trees on the left.
The trail reaches Mary Smith Hill Road and the end of this section. There is an official DEC campsite near the trail (yellow DEC camping disc) as you approach Mary Smith Hill Road and the small parking area. We didn't notice any water near the campsite. There is another campsite about 0.2 mile north along the road on the left. There is an overall elevation gain of over 900 feet on this section of the trail with some extremely steep parts. It is important to remember that hiking the FLT in the Catskills is much more difficult that in other areas. The trail can be overgrown at certain points and difficult due to the rugged terrain.
We have a few pictures, map and detailed description of this section below. We also have a video of the trail from Mary Smith Hill Road to the lookout below. This stretch of the Finger Lakes Trail is featured on map M30 from the FLTC.
Directions from Syracuse: This section of the Finger Lakes Trail is over 120 miles away from Syracuse and is a 2.5 hour trip. I-81 south to Exit 8 Whitney Point. Turn left on US 11 south, then left on NY 26 to a quick right on NY 206. NY 206 to Downsville then a left on NY 30 north. Turn right on Holiday and Berry Brook Road to the trail crossing and parking area on your left.
NOTE: Holiday and Berry Brook Rd is a good, mostly paved road and in really good shape after the severe flash floods that ravaged the area back in 2007. The small parking area on Mary Smith Hill Road is best if approached from the south or Beaverkill Valley area (from Lew Beach). The road from the north is steep at times and rough.
Campsite off Mary Smith Road near the FLT
View from Mary Smith Hill
Mile Elevation Trail Description 0.0 2156 feet
Finger Lakes Trail crosses Holiday and Berry Brook Road (parking) and follows the Mary Smith Hill Trail. Ascend steeply and follow the red discs.
0.6 2681 feet
First false summit, trail descends briefly before ascending again.
1.0 2772 feet
Second false summit, trail descends briefly before ascending again.
2.2 2931 feet
Trail skirts close to summit of Mary Smith Hill, then begins descent.
2.6 2692 feet
View to the southeast. Trail now descends steeply at times.
3.1 2228 feet
Reach dirt Mary Smith Hill Road and the end of this section. Parking. Camping area. Kiosk & trail register. For a continuation see Middle Mountain.
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